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What Are The Differences Between Fiber Optic Cables And Twisted Pair Cables?

Views: 99     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2020-11-16      Origin: Site

What Are The Differences Between Fiber Optic Cables And Twisted Pair Cables?

When installing the network cable, would you choose fiber optic cables or twisted pair cables? These two types can help wire up network connection. But what is the difference between fiber optic cables and twisted pair cables? In the following passages, we will break it down through several aspects.

Constructions & Types 

The first difference between fiber optic cables and twisted pair cables lies in their constructions. A fiber optic cable consists of thin strands of glass fiber. It transfers data or other information in a form of light. Generally, there are two types of the fiber optic - multi-mode and single-mode. The former uses light to transmit data for a short distance of 500m. The latter uses the laser beam to transmit data for a longer distance of more than 10km.


A twisted pair cable contain two separate insulated wires but twisted together. The pairs of wires transmit signals by forming a circuit. And the twisted design can effectively reduce crosstalk between the wires.

UTP CAT5 Twisted Pair Cable Diagram

twisted pair cable- UTP CAT5


Types of Twisted Pair Cable

Generally, twisted pair cables have two basic kinds - UTP and STP. The former stands for unshielded twisted pair cables and the latter means shielded twisted pair cables. STP has the additional shielding which can prevent interference and signal loss. Twisted pair cables also come in different categories, such as Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, Cat7, etc. Cat5, Cat5e, and Cat6 are very common in home use. And Cat7 is usually used for the network in large enterprises.


Application & Performance 

Twisted pair cables usually work for telephone and computer networking system. With a max bandwidth of 4700 Mhz, they can transmit signals at a speed of 10Gbps. Besides, the maximum distance for the transmission can be up to 100m.


Fiber optic cables are a transmission medium of computer networking. They provide wider bandwidth and higher frequency, delivering data at a  speed of up to 200Gpbs. Besides, fiber optic cables are ideal  for long-distance transmission. They can carry data at a distance of up to 80km with lower attenuation.


Installation & Cost

Fiber optic cables can be installed indoors and outdoors. However, it is not easy to install them by yourself. There are many hair-thin glass fibers inside the cables. They are very fragile and easy to break. So you need to be particularly careful during the installation. What's more, fiber optic cables are more expensive than twisted pair cables. Once you break off the cable carelessly, you need to spend extra money buying a new one. Therefore, you'd better pay for a professional who can install the cables for you.


Twisted pair cables are soft so you can bend them without easily damaging the inner construction.  You can install the cables by yourself instead of hiring a technician. Besides, twisted pair cables are much more inexpensive than the fiber optic. If you need a very long run for network connection, twisted pair cables can help you save money.


Twisted pair cables usually work with RJ connectors, which stand for Registered Jack connectors. Generally, the connectors contain eight pins to hold down eight separate wires. RJ45 connectors are primarily used to connect a computer to LAN.

Twisted pair cable - RJ45


SC and LC are two common connectors compatible with fiber optic cables. SC stands for subscriber connector, which is a standard square connector. It is made of engineering plastic so it can resist high temperatures and is not easy to fall out. LC refers to lucent connector, which is smaller but has a similar shape of SC.


Fiber Optic Cables Vs Twisted pair Cables, Which to Choose?

If you prefer much faster transmission speed, fiber optic cables are your best bet. But at the same time, you need to pay more for them. Twisted pair cables have both advantages and disadvantages. Although they are the more cost-effective options, for some high-demand uses, fiber optic is always the better one.

In conclusion, choosing the right cable not only depends on the performance but also the cost, distance, installation , etc. So that’s why so many people still buy twisted pair cables nowadays. 


New King is a cable manufacturer in Foshan, China. We export loads of cables to different countries from all over the world. If you want to know more about our products, please feel free to contact us at

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